Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay, who is also a businessman in Canby, has been removed from office decisively, with more than two-thirds of voters affirming his recall in Tuesday’s election.
Of the 13,586 votes cast, 9,243 (68%) voted in favor of the recall of Holladay, who was in his second term as mayor. On the other side, only 4,343 (32%) said the mayor should stay in office.
The recall election was different from last week’s general election, and ballots were mailed separately to registered voters in Oregon City. The mayoral recall was the only issue on these ballots.
“Once again, Oregon City residents have shown up in force for ethical and accountable leadership,” recall campaign manager Adam Marl said in a statement Tuesday. “Amid the pandemic and wildfire evacuations, our 100% volunteer effort gathered a thousand more signatures than the amount needed to qualify for the ballot.”
“And tonight, after months of socially-distanced hard work, the people of Oregon City have affirmed what we knew all along: Oregon City is better than Dan Holladay.”
Reached Tuesday, Mayor Holladay declined to comment. The Oregon City recorder said he will remain in office until the city receives the certified results from Clackamas County, expected to be no later than Nov. 30.
This is the first successful mayoral recall effort in the history of Oregon’s first city. Commission President Rachel Lyles Smith will serve as the interim meeting chair until a special election is held to seat a new mayor in March — who will serve the remainder of Holladay’s term.
“With the recall officially behind us, it’s critical that the citizens remain engaged with local government as we look ahead to electing a mayor who represents our values in the coming months,” Marl said. “Until then, I’m hopeful that our community will now be able to heal after the mayor’s divisive and destructive tenure.”
The recall election and the election to replace Holladay will cost the city about $60,000 total. Marl said the Committee to Recall Dan Holladay will not make any endorsements for the March 2021 special election to replace the mayor.
The recall effort had been driven by a grassroots coalition of dedicated volunteers, angered by comments Holladay had made this year and in the past that were widely viewed as racially insensitive.
He had also drawn the ire of his fellow city commissioners and constituents with his loose talk about businesses reopening in April, which drew a sharp rebuke from the state attorney general, and for his behavior at city meetings, as well as alleged acts of corruption, cronyism and wasteful spending.
Recall petitioners held drive-through rallies, set up tables at supportive businesses and farmers markets and — in the final weeks — raised enough funds to send signature sheets to more than 11,000 households.
Despite the pandemic and destructive wildfires in September, the group collected over 1,000 more verified signatures than were needed to trigger the recall election.
The mayor’s recall had been endorsed by all four current city commissioners, as well as three former mayors, five current school board members, former Clackamas County commissioners John Ludlow and Ed Linquist and the Oregon City School District superintendent.
The Clackamas County Republican Party, however, supported Holladay, saying they found his “comments ‘hurt the feelings’ of certain people, which does not meet the criteria for the recall.”
The county GOP’s action drew a swift rebuke from Marl, a registered Republican, who said “this campaign is not about right vs. left, it’s about right vs. wrong.”
Clackamas County Republicans, along with the Democratic Party of Clackamas County, had also sought to intervene in support of two Gladstone city councilors facing recall in 2017. Both of them were also removed from office by the voters.
Slightly more than 52% of Oregon City’s 26,262 registered voters turned out for the recall election.